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Us 13, Hartford 11, Novak 9, Don Hewitt 8, Obama 6, Clarence 5, Don 4, Jon Stewart 4, Hewitt 4, Jeff Jarvis 3, Washington 3, Steve 3, Anne Kornblut 3, John Ashcroft 3, John King 2, Robert Novak 2, Mike Mullen 2, Graziano 2, Citracal 2, Cnn 2,
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  CNN    John King Reliable Sources    News/Business. John King.  

    August 23, 2009
    10:00 - 11:00am EDT  

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the man who will forever be linked with that ticking stopwatch. in this hour of "state of the union," howard kurtz, as always, breaks it down with his reliable sources. in television, the anchors and correspondents are the stars. they deliver the news, play to the cameras, fly around the world, conduct the big interviews, bask in the glow of celebrity. but there was one producer who was so innovative, whose career was so entwined with history, that he became nearly as famous as his stable of stars. >> the best story you could ever do when you were doing television is to do what i call the ""i didn't know that" story. >> reporter: don hewitt had his flaws, but he worked behind the scenes with edward r. murrow. >> we are rather impressed with the whole thing. impressed that i can turn to don hewitt here and say, don, will you push in a button and bring in the atlantic coast?
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>> we move over here? >> reporter: hewitt, who presided over the first 30-minute network newscast with walter cronkite. and hewitt, who invented one of the most widely copied format in broadcast. >> this is "60 minutes," a kind of magazine for television. >> reporter: that was 41 years ago and "60 minutes" keeps on ticking. his cbs colleagues remember him as a force of nature. >> don hewitt really was the inventor of television news as we know it. >> reporter: and this strong-willed man sometimes clashed with the likes of mike wallace. >> this is the story i see every night in the news -- >> i know that, don, but those are the facts. you've got to establish the context in which we are telling the rest of the story. >> mike, mike, mike. >> the impact, positive and negative that hewitt had on television news, i spoke earlier to two of his "60 minutes" colleagues from new york. >> joining us now, veteran "60
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minutes" correspondent, steve fromme, and jeff, the producer of the show. steve, what was it like to be in the screening room with don hewitt when he was taking apart one of your pieces? >> well, i guess it depended on whether you thought he was right or not. most of the time he was. sometimes you had to convince yourself that he was. but it could be somewhat infuriating if he was being really tough. and at those points, you always look around the room to the other senior staff and see if there was another ally that you could enlist to stop the bleeding. but it was always exciting and you knew regardless of what happened at the time, you were going to walk out of the screening room and everything would be fine. >> jeff, hewitt was, to say the least, a strong-willed guy. >> he was. and a lot about that screening room depended on whether he liked it or not. if he liked it, it could be a
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great experience. if he didn't like it, it could be so painful, because you work so hard and everybody's a little nervous when they walk into that room. >> intimidation factor. >> yes. especially when you're new there. >> steve, was it a democracy or dictatorship? could you talk him into doing a story he wasn't crazy about? >> you could always talk into doing stories he wasn't crazy about. in fact, he rarely told you not to do a story. he gave you an incredibly wide berth to do things, but you also vested a lot of your credibility with him every time you made one of those decisions to do something he was sort of lukewarm on. because you knew if it didn't turn out, it was all your fault. but he gave you a lot of rope. and you could -- as i said earlier, you could -- it was a -- you could change his mind. i had much less success with him
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than phil shefler did. and as exuberant and as crazy as don was, phil shefler was in many times in the screenings the voice of reason. and if they felt that don was wrong, they would back you up and help. so you could win arguments with him. >> i wish i had some videotape of some of those arguments. >> howie, he loved to argue. he wanted people to disagree with him. he didn't want anybody working for him who just say, oh, that's fine, i accept that. >> that's the mark of a good boss and a confident boss that encourages dissent. don had accomplished so much in his early career, jeff, working with murrow, cronkite, the jfk/nixon debate, but he was still running "60 minutes" when he was 80 years old. was it delicate at all when cbs really wanted him to step aside and make you the executive producer and he was not wild about that? >> it was really a tough time. he didn't want to go. he said at one point, i want to die at my desk, which was tough for everybody. it took him about a year to really get used to it and
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probably two years to realize it was probably a good time and a good moment for him to step down. but it was difficult. and you could understand why. this was something he'd poured himself into all of his life. he loved it. it was so much a part of him, his baby, so hard to give up. we were all very sympathetic and it was tough. no doubt about it. and it was really so fulfilling after a couple of years, when he was -- when he had gotten used to it and he'd made peace with it, because he was hugely helpful and grate to have around. >> i'm sure that's true. let me play a couple of clips. steve, this is your famous interview with bill and hillary clinton, super bowl sunday, 1992, in the wake of the gennifer flowers story, the allegations that she was sleeping or had been sleeping with the former -- with the then-governor of arkansas. let's roll that. >> you've been saying all week that you've got to put this issue behind you. are you prepared, tonight, to say that you've never had an extramarital affair?
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>> i'm not prepared to say any one should ever discuss that with anyone but themselves. >> what did don hewitt say to bill clinton before the cameras started rolling. some people said he was actually giving him advice on how to handle this situation. >> i don't remember -- i saw something in one of the papers today talking about that he gave don -- don did have a conversation with clinton during the interview. my recollection was that it was after we'd done about half the interview. and don told him, he said, look, i think you should come clean. you should be honest. you should not try and dance around this thing. you should be honest and then it will be off your chest and you won't have to talk about it anymore. and my recollection was that it was not at the beginning, but that it was after we had burned through one tape. >> and of course, it would have been better television and more newsworthy for "60 minutes" if he did come clean, which he did
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not fully do. one of the darkest chapters in "60 minutes" history was the tobacco industry expose. it was spiked. here's a little bit of what happened some months later when the story finally did run. >> cbs management wouldn't let us broadcast our original story and our interview with jeffrey whygan was they were worried about the possibility of a multibillion dollar lawsuit against us for tortious interference. that is, interfering with whygan's confidentiality agreement with williamson. >> that had to be tough for don hewitt, not to be able to get what was a very good story on the air because of the lawyers. >> it was a very important story too, one of the most important stories that had ever come to us and had been reported. it was one of the toughest times, i think, in don's entire career and it lived to haunt him a bit. he regrets some things. but he was also in a really tough position. larry tesch was running cbs at the time and he was not an easy boss. he kept on don, intensely
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sometimes, when he didn't agree with the reporting. sp this was that kind of a situation. it was hard to figure out, what would they do at the time? would don go with an armed guard to the transmitter and take it over and put a tape in. >> that would have been a hell of a story. one more. this is steve croft back in 1990 on a used car lot. >> with our cameras hidden, we asked the salesman about the van. >> 52,000. >> you're sure of the mileage? >> you look like that guy that does that "60 minutes" thing on tv. you look like that guy. >> steve kroft? >> yeah? >> how you doing? >> you got busted there. but all those ambush interviews that were in vogue at that time, i was kind of uncomfortable with that. >> it started out on "60
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minutes" and then went to local news, and then don got sick of it looking at it on local news and said, let's get away from this. that's literally what happened. he'd thought it had cliche. now you don't see it much on local news. and we have discussions from time to time, jeff, myself, and other correspondents when we find someone we really want to hear from about going out and doorstoping him. and we still do it occasionally and maybe it's time, since it's sort of disappeared from the scene in local news, to go back and try it again. >> jeff fager, why did only a handful of news programs survive? >> stuff got carried away. it was too much. it became, as a business, it's quite expensive to do what we do and i think if it's not as successful as we are and have
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been and, knock on wood, continue to be, it's hard to sustain on prime-time. so i actually -- we're very proud of what we're doing and i think that i'm happy that we're thriving right now and i think fewer of them is probably fine. it got a little -- companies, i think, got a little carried away. >> before we go, jeff, another of your "60 minutes"' alumni, dan rather has been in the news, suing cbs saying you department give him enough work when he stepped down. what do you make of him still pursuing this lawsuit? >> it's difficult, i think, for all of us, because dan is such an important part of our organization for so many years. so i just hope that it sorts itself out in a good way and it's been unfortunate. it was a difficult situation when he was involved in the national guard story, but as a news organization, we're past it and i hope he can too. >> all right.
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jeff fager and steve kroft, thank you so much for helping us remember don hewitt. we appreciate it. and "60 minutes" will air a tribute to don hewitt tonight. and a blog to fight a serious disease. is there such a thing as revealing too much online? gecko vo: you see, it's not just telling people geico could save 'em hundreds on car insurance. it's actually doing it. gecko vo: businessmen say "hard work equals success." well, you're looking at, arguably, the world's most successful businessgecko. gecko vo: first rule of "hard work equals success." gecko vo: that's why geico is consistently rated excellent or better in terms of financial strength. gecko vo: second rule: "don't steal a coworker's egg salad, 'specially if it's marked "the gecko."
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jeff jarvis writes about plenty of subjects, journalism, blogging, teaching, google, but he also writes candidly about himself. 13 days ago, jarvis told his readers on buzzmachine that he's been diagnosed with prostate cancer. and he didn't hold back the details. he talked about his mri and treatment options and the
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aftereffects of surgery. but aren't there risks in being so excruciatingly open. jeff jarvis, welcome. this used to be the most private of subjects. why be so public about your cancer? >> well, howie, in my blogging and teaching, i advise companies and media and government these days that we have to be more transparent and there are opportunities in being more transparent in a public. so in a sense, how could i not? my life is an open blog, i live in public, something profound is happening to me, and i reveal it. and good things came to me immediately. i got showers of well wishes, lots of good advice, lots of very candid advice from people who have gone through this same procedure. and i also caused some other guys to blog about their experiences. just one person gets the psa test that reveals this in me, that's a good thing. but there's also something more on the internet. which is that we can gather our knowledge together in new ways, our data. and those of us that have
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ailment, the more we share about that, the more wisdom that can come out of that, and i think we're going to go a day soon when not to reveal something like this is seen as sort of antisocial. >> so obviously there's a public education aspect to this, but did you also find it therapeutic? obviously, this is a very hard thing to go through. >> yeah. i'm aware, howie, how lucky i am. when i got the diagnosis, the doctor said, if you're going to get one, this is the one to get. it was caught very, very early. i'm quite aware how lucky i am compared to others. >> and the reason you talked about this on howard stern is? >> they called me. i'm a howard stern friend so they called me and i guess nowhere else could i talk about the excruciatining details of where they poke, prod, and shoot harpoon guns in me. >> and you wrote on the blog, we men don't like talking about our penises, and then you did.
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any impairmeembarrassment facto? >> yeah, i guess so. but i've put it all out there now. and one's plumbing does not work as it should for a while, and that's how it is. but friends of mine who have had this came back to me and were very frank and that's what i needed. so far, it's just been educational. >> one person said on twitter, where obviously anybody can comment about anything, that you were using this to promote your book on google. >> well, that was the one troll who said something nasty and my twitter friends all beat him up for me, which i think is a good thing. >> i assume you mean, beat him up, virtually speaking? >> yes, yes. i think that was the only bit of nastiness i saw in all of this. there is a risk of this being medical and emotional exhibitionism. here i am on tv. why did i say yes to this? you said, why not use every medium. fine. if one more person sees this and some good comes out of it, okay. if it's an example about the
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benefits of transparency. the discussion about the internet has been about privacy and the dangers to privacy of the internet. what we don't talk about is the benefits that come from transparency and openness. whether that's as individuals or in media or in companies or in government. and i think that that's really important to learn how when you open up, good things can happen and accrue and if you don't, you can't get those benefits. >> so are you going to blog about your treatment and recovery? >> yes. we'll see how detailed i get. i think the one limit on me is i don't want to bring others into my glass house. i have a family and it's not up to me to open up their transparency, but i think within that limit, sure, why not? i've already said the word "penis" in my blog, so why not? >> if you've done that, you've broken a barrier. and it is interesting to follow this and obviously, we wish you all the best with the treatment. jeff jarvis. thanks a lot for joining us. coming up in the second half of "reliable sources," blaming the press. as president obama's health plan seems to be floundering, the
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white house keeps carping about the coverage. and who's right about the way fox news portrays the protesters. bill o'reilly or jon stewart? and my two cents on another loss of the controversial conservative robert novak. and going to the mattresses. a consumer columnist takes on connecticut papers saying he was fired after going after a bedding company that just happens to be a major advertiser. others by the car of their dreams. during the lexus golden opportunity sales event, you can do both. special lease offers now available on the 2009 es 350. as we get older, our bodies become... less able to absorb calcium. he recommended citracal. it's a different kind of calcium. calcium citrate. with vitamin d... for unsurpassed absorption, to nourish your bones.
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good choice. only meineke lets you choose the brake service that's right for you. and save 50% on pads and shoes. meineke. i'm john king and this is "state of the union." here are stories breaking this sunday morning. the nation's top military officer says he's appalled that scotland released the libyan convicted of killing 270 people in the 1988 pan am bombing. speaking on "state of the union" this morning, admiral mike
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mullen confirms it was a political decision. the president's about to leave for his vacation since taking office. the first family heads to martha's vineyard in just a few hours. they'll be staying on a secluded estate for the next week. the trip was original planned for this morning, but was delayed until hurricane bill moved up the along the new england coast. bill is now a hurricane 1 category with 85-mile-per-hour winds. it's headed towards newfoundland, canada, and expected to make landfall tomorrow. tropical storm warnings have been canceled along the massachusetts coast, but forecasters predict large sea swells will continue and could cause dangerous rip currents and surf. that and more ahead on "state of the union." president obama isn't real happy with the media these days. in fact, he seems to be talking nearly as much about the coverage of his troubled health care plan about the plan itself. people are preoccupied with the cable and the pundit chatter. this from a man who began the
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here being likened to fdr and lincoln. the message, meanwhile, is muddled. last sunday kathleen sebelius said here on "state of the union" that a public option to compete with government-run health care wasn't, quote, essential. >> the president has, thus far, sided with the notion that that can best be done through a public option. >> all right. "thus far sided with," is that a hedge? >> no, no, no. >> not surprisingly, news organizations said that they were moving away from the public option, which prompted gibson to say there was no story, that they never said what the press seems to think they said or that it wasn't new or something. >> we expect to have this package -- the party of the public option? >> again, contrived almost entirely by you guys. >> contrived? it's the media's fault?
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joining me now to examine the coverage of health care, anne kornblut, national political reporter for "the washington post." david frum, now serves as editor of newmajority.com. and clarence page, columnist for the "chicago tribune." kornblut, what do you make of gibbs saying, that thing we said about the public option, that's not news, that's something contrived by the likes of you? >> they did have a point that the day before on saturday, obama had said in a public speech that this was only a sliver of his health plan. and if you went back and combed through all of his public statements and their public statements in recent months, there had been other points in time when they had hints that this might be the case. but on a sunday morning, when you have major administration officials out on the news shows, and we are all trained to read the tea leaves, and that is the most important thing that is said, it's kind of a no-brainer that that's going to be in the next day's news. so it sort of amounted to a loss of message control that they didn't realize that this was going to be out there. >> clarence page, when the white house is complaining about media coverage of health care almost every day and obama keeps say tv
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loves the ruckus, which is true, but that's not a good sign, is it? >> well, what's striking here, howard, is the contrast between this august and last august. in the campaign, a lot of us saying, has obama lost his mow joe? he seems to be losing momentum at that odd time of the year when john kerry was hit with the swift voters four years earlier. but what's striking now is that they seem to have lost track of the notion of a simple fact that a lot of americans out there don't know what the public option is. don't no what those words mean. >> despite all the reporting done by all the newspapers and magazines and television stations? >> well, i fault us, howard, at sort of presuming people know more than they really know. we know what a public option is, but nobody knows in detail what it's going to be, because it hasn't really been spelled out in legislation yet. and terms like co-op, and that's even fuzzier. so the white house, i think, is trying to hide their own message
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control problems behind fuzzy language. >> there's a lot of jargon here. just before i came out here, david frum, i read a column about yours about people who bring guns to these obama town hall events. and you took on some on the right side, glenn beck, rush limbaugh. you said, we have to tone down the militant and accusatory rhetoric. >> we do. we do. >> is it fair to blame the broadcasters for this atmosphere? >> yeah. the broadcasters have -- coping with a downward trend in advertising revenues for talk radio, the broadcasters have ramped up what they are saying. you have broadcaster saying the president is, quote, literally at war with the american people, literally at war is a very serious thing. al qaeda is literally at war. >> and has a deep-seated hatred for white people. >> and the thing that's so
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outrageous, people are getting more excited about than the details of health care. yes, this is a moment where because the president has advanced these ideas at a time of fiscal crisis, the republicans have an opportunity to reshape the president's plan in a way that is consistent with conservative values, to get control of costs, to improve competition, to defeat the public option -- >> and instead? >> and instead, the republicans are making some tactical gains at the price of making themselves look less like a future government. >> it is certainly possible, anne kornblut, you talked about reading the tea leaves, that we over interpret each twist and turn, but if you rook at what's happened recently, journalists have accurately reported that there's a lot of public unease about this health care plan, that it's been sliding in the polls, it's stalled on capitol hill, that the democratic party is split. is this administration just not accustomed to critical reporting? >> well, they -- look, they are, actually, accustomed to the august phenomenon that clarence referred to. it wasn't just last august, but -- >> yeah, but he wasn't president then.
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now he's in the white house with all the trappings. >> and privately, they would say, look, we know you aren't fabricating the poll numbers, you aren't fabricating the town hall meetings. i think a little bit of this is thing we saw in the previous administration, which was, it's easier to just blame the media, even if they don't mean it all the time, it's an easier decoy and they'll get back to a more serious discussion when september is here and everybody's back -- >> but privately, do some administration officials tell you they're frustrated with the way we have covered this? >> yea. there's no question about it. it's limited to certain news organizations and certain reporters, i don't think it's quite as blanket as you hear publicly. >> they have a list? >> i'm not saying they have a list. >> a fascinating poll a few days ago from nbc news. the number or percentage who believe reform proposals would allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing medical care for the elderly. overall, 45% believe that's
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true. but if you segregate out fox news viewers, the number rises to 75%. if you look at msnbc and cnn viewers, 30%. so, clarence page, the public doesn't -- this is the whole death panel discussion. the public doesn't seem to be buying it. journalists have reported again and again and again there are no death panels in any viewer of this legislation, and fox viewers, the most skeptical. >> and barack obama was born in hawaii. this is the message problem, howard. i was interviewing obama over a year ago, saying, why don't we just advocate a medicare for everybody. you know, those three words, "medicare for everybody," at least you know what that means. because everybody knows what medicare is, whether they like it or not, and most people like it, but we say "public option," and who knows what that is. >> maybe it's a message problem, but isn't it something that shows, it's not a failure of journalism, the limitations of journalism. how many times have we collectively reported that there is nothing -- this is not an
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argument about, will the costs really go down, there's plenty of room for disagreement. there was nothing about government panels who decide who lives or die, and yet 45% don't believe us. >> well, it's hidden in this language -- well, it's interesting, the fox news viewers, almost 75% believe this, because every night sean hannity or others have been pushing this message, that in the language there is this potential. and when you say that, you're raising suspicions on the part of the public. >> is it that, or that more conservatives watch fox news and more conservatives are negative towards this plan or don't have any confidence in obama or in the mainstream media? >> a lot of political sciences indicated, especially over the past generation, there's been a tendency for people first to decide what they believe and then to decide what they want to watch. whereas, back in the 1970s, the best predictor about what you thought about the economy was how you were personally doing by the late 1990s, the best predictor about what you thought of the economy, whether you supported the party in power or not. the thing so wacky about this
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debate, is that it is already true that everybody or virtually everybody over 65 is enrolled in a public plan. the government could kill them all now if it wanted to. they have, theoretically, so what is going on different? that is the really mystery of all this. >> that's one of thing that bothers me about the coverage. we've almost completely gotten away from talking about the flaws in the current system, which has a lot of problems. we talk about all these hypotheticals, which is understandable when you talk about a sweeping, ambitious proposal like that that obama is pushing. and there's a bit of a smackdown that goes to how the president is treating the protesters. first, jon stewart on "the daily show" played some clips to that effect. and then bill o'reilly came back the next night with a rebuttal. let's show that. >> when we cover the town hall meetings, we don't describe the protesters as alones. >> of course you don't describe the protesters as loons. what kind of monster would describe honest americans voicing their political opinions that way.
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>> many protesters are simply loons. >> all right, to be fair, tor fair, to be fair, those were protesters he agrees with. to be fair? hah! >> once again, jon stewart took the loon comment out of context. >> while most of these people have been peaceful, more than 1,000 have been arrested and surveys show many protesters are simply loons, calling for the destruction of the american system, calling for retreat in the faus of terrorism. >> and he went on to say that he understands stewart is a satirist, but had been unfair in the way he framed it. is there a serious point here about whou you describe protesters, depending on what the cause is? >> i guess so. i'm glad he has a new target
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besides olbermann. look, we have to be, i think all of us here, are careful about how we describe the protesters and giving them credence. they operate in a different universe, and certainly, i think, jon stewart's goal in all of this is to be funny first and probably accurate first-ish. >> clarence, hasn't fox, in fact, flipped, some fox hosts, i should say, from slamming liberal protesters to defending these anti-obama protesters, some of which -- some of whom are very articulate and some of whom seem a little confused about the facts. >> to be fair, howard, to be fair, that we are talking about the line being blurred between news and entertainment more than any of us could have imagined, except maybe in the world of the network back in 1975. look at that, seeing a circus unfold on cable tv now. the real point underlying all this is that it's okay to slant your anchor coverage, if you will. to slant your shows on cable tv
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now -- >> they're not actors, they're comedians. >> but how much of our audience out there understands the distinction? we're in this business, you know, and we make that distinction, but folk outs there, i go to my video store and the guy says that, oh, i get all my news from bill o'reilly. i like bill, but getting all your news from one place -- >> and some msnbc news hosts seem more inclined to go after these town hall protesters than they were to go after the anti-bush protesters. >> one thing i've never understood about cable was with the acres of time on cable, i thought what we would get is much wider and more extensive -- >> thank you. >> -- coverage of events, and you would see not a sentence from a town hall, but almost all of it, but you would have a chance to say, we're a cable show, middle of the day, not many people are watching, but why not use this time to explain what's going on and go a little
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bit more in depth. but despite the limits of time, we seem to go in the opposite direction. >> let's go to the new book by tom ridge. he received political pressures from other in the bush administration, notably john ashcroft, the attorney general john ashcroft, and rumsfeld, to raise the color-coded terror alerts in a way that might boost president bush's fortune. here's ridge declaring one such alert back in the summer of 2004. >> today the united states government is raising the threat level to code orange for the financial services sector in new york city, northern new jersey, and washington, d.c. >> ridge says he resisted pressure from those two cabinet members to do the same thing on the weekend before the 2004 election. a lot of journalists were skeptical of those terror alerts and now it looks like their skepticism was justified. >> and we've heard from some former administration officials that it was tied to the
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election, but only insofar as as bin laden and al qaeda targeting us around election time. but it does raise the question, why didn't he speak out sooner? it seems he could have said something a lot earlier than this. >> perhaps, clarence page, because he has a book to sell. >> perhaps. do you think that's possible? it's a cynical world out there, but we all thought the color can coding was kind of a joke in the beginning. and now, you know, this all comes out. it does spin to a narrative that certainly does help sell books. >> but journalist who is question whether there was a political motivation at the time, this was serious stuff three years after 9/11, were often land basted as being unpatriotic and the like. >> this is a baffling story. first, tom ridge doesn't make an accusation, he doesn't make an allegation, he surmises, speculates, he asks himself and doesn't answer. but, second, can we remember, it was how many weeks ago that how many americans were hailing john ashcroft for defying the bush administration from his hospital bed. that's the same john ashcroft.
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so if he was independent than, maybe the reason he disagreed was, he disagreed. >> anne kornblut, who asked robert gibbs what the president of the united states meant when washington was all wee weed up. >> i asked him if it really meant it was bedwetting and he confirmed that. up next, he said the hartford courier spiked his story and sent him backing. lots of discounts on car insurance. can i get in on that? are you a safe driver? yes. discount! do you own a home? yes. discount! are you going to buy online? yes! discount! isn't getting discounts great? yes! there's no discount for agreeing with me. yeah, i got carried away. happens to me all the time. helping you save money -- now, that's progressive. introducing the all new chevy equinox.
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george worked for the hartford current for 40 years, until they eliminated his job earlier this month and refused to run his story about an investigation of a major advertiser. the consumer columnist said the state attorney general was looking at the complaint that the betting firm sleepies was selling used mattresses as new, in one case, allegedly infested with bedbugs. he says he was dismissed after a series of clashes with t paper's new publisher over his reporting on companies that buy ads. "the current," which eventually ran a truncated version of the story said he was eliminated. joining me now from hartford is george. what makes you so convinced that the "hartford current" was protecting advertisers? >> well, because during my 40-year career at the "hartford current," i have handled some of the most sensitive stories, both
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as part of senior management and as an investigative reporter, and never, ever was there any conversation about whether with a story should run or not run because it involved an advertiser. let me just finish. >> go ahead, please. >> and up until the first time an advertiser complaint, these people loved me. they had my billboards all over hartford, scaring little children, they had my picture on every single bus in hartford. they were running ads on this tv station, the one that i'm coming in right now, which is our sister station, and on the radio so often that people were turning it off because they were sick and tired of listening to the -- >> all right, you're a high-profile guy. got to jump in. "the current" is part of the tribune paper chain, which is bankrupt. richard grassani comes in as the new producer. you did a piece about a plumbing
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contractor and you had words with him. what happened? >> i didn't have any words with him about that. i had several pieces on the plumbing contractor, which is also under investigation by state officials. the plumbing contractor sent a letter to management, and as a result of that letter, i was called in to jeff lavigne, the editor of both this station and "the current," and i was ordered by him to go to the plumbing contractor's office and be nice. that's a quote. be nice to them, because of a half a million advertising contract on the line. >> and who said to you, do you want it on your head if we lose $200,000 and we have to lay off reporters. >> jeff lavigne did, in front of a witness. >> all right. let me tell our viewers that we invited the "hartford current" to have somebody appear with you on this program, the paper declined, but did give us this statement. in rece
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what about this business that the job was eliminated and you were supposed to reply and you didn't reaply? >> that has nothing to do with nothing. the reality is, like i said, they spent $500,000 marketing me, the last thing they wanted, this new management team, was an investigation of their advertisers. and levine and graziano and nadine hazel have refused to come on every single radio program. and if their lawyers are so sure that i'm mischaracterizing something, don't you think they'd be here defending themselves? this is a huge issue. this is not about george gombossy or the fox 61 reporter who's out making similar
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allegations, even stronger -- >> let's stick with your case. did you refuse -- the paper did run a truncated version of the sleepy story. did you refuse to rewrite that? >> no, they didn't ask me to rewrite it. that column was approved by my editor, and after they didn't run it, the next day i was fired. >> going back to the statement from the paper, i've looked at your website and you were getting into some very personal criticism at graziano and some of the other executives and some of your colleagues are saying, is this guy on some kind of jihad. aren't you helping to tear down the very journalistic institution that you devoted 40 of your life to building up? >> i'm glad you asked that question. first of all, i don't know a single colleague of mine that's doing this. the reason i'm doing this and the reason i'm not accepting a huge severance settlement that would put a gag order on me and which would prevent me from litigation is because i want the
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courant to return to the high ethical standards that it used to have up until about six months ago. and this is not just happening in hartford, where the "hartford courant" and fox 61 have a virtual monopoly. i'm not a rocket science, but one of my principles has always been, and it's very successful, if there's one issue one place, then there's tons of coke roacks all over the place. >> so are you planning to sue "the hartford courant" over your dismissal? >> absolutely. up next, a plugged in pundit. many admired him, others detested him, but bob novak was a force to be reckoned with. less able to absorb calcium. he recommended citracal. it's a different kind of calcium. calcium citrate. with vitamin d...
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to his detractors, robert novak was the prince of darkness, a conservative columnist, the man who outed valerie plame as a cia operative. but this was a man who hit the phones, worked his sources. novak, who lost his battle with brain cancer this week, was an old wire service reporter, who started a newspaper during the kennedy administration. not that they always got along. >> just shut up, will you? >> you shut up. >> reporter: when cnn launched during the carter
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administration, novak and his partner were already established as the scoop artists of the right. not grand thinkers, but plugged in pundits who explored the republican strategies and power struggles of the reagan years. novak came to personify television's new shout-os with his two-fisted grim style of combat on cross fire. >> i say the judgment is bad and your performance is a disservice to your country. why did you laugh over the death of an american serviceman -- >> don't be a demagogue, i did not laugh. >> you did! >> he was also a conservative mainstay on the high decibel mclaughlin group. but by the time bush the elder won the presidency, he had launched another program, "the capital game." >> i'll tell you whether he makes any sense. it's very interesting. every time al says something, it's always the democratic party line. >> off the air, though, novak was pals with such liberal
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sparring partners as jack durman, margaret carlson, and al hunt. novak loved to beat up on the likes of bill clinton, but there were times when he broke with the republicans as well. as george w. bush prepared to take the country to war in iraq, novak loudly objected. >> i think it's a huge mistake. i think going into war against a country where you don't have the proof of the weapons of mass destruction, whether or not aggressing anybody, this is preemption. and preemption is a very dangerous on atiperative, indee. >> but it was the battle over the war and his friendship with karl rove that would prove his undoing. rove was one of two white house sources that said that valerie plame was secretly employed by the cia and novak's disclosure of that fact six years ago was ignited a firestorm. he was called a traitor and work. novak had little to say publicly
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about the leak investigation, even as he revealed his confidential sources to special prosecutor, patrick fitzgerald. >> i don't think i did anything wrong, but as a practical matter, it wasn't a big scoop, you know. it was just a throwaway line, and the whole column was not abusive toward gerald wilson in any way. >> reporter: he began to seem a relic of an earlier era. cnn dropped "cross fire" and "capital game," and in one of his rare appearances, novak lost his temper with james carville. >> i think that's bullshit. i hate that. >> about this senate race -- james, that -- >> he left the network soon afterwards, joining fox news and published his memoir totaled, fittingly enough, "the prince of darkness." 13 months ago, the man who never seemed to stop arguing was sidelined by cancer. novak was a polarizing figure,
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no question about it. and at times, he seemed too close to his favorite sources, but for decades in the city, if you wanted to know what was happening on the republican side, you had to read him. bob novak was 78. still to come, second chance. jason blair, the biggest fraud in the history of "the new york times," has found a very different career.
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his name may be synonymous with journalist fraud, but jayson blair has found a new
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career. it was six years ago that i discovered "the new york times" reporter was fabricating and plagiarizing stories, stories in cities he had never been to, stories about people he had never met. he appeared on this program after he was forced to leave "the times" and wrote a book about his experience. is it fair for people to say, and you've heard this, i'm sure, in many interviews, here's a guy who lied and cheated and hurt people and lied to his family and lied to his friends and lied to his girlfriend and then he gets $150,000 book program. people think that you are cashing in on your deceptions. >> well, i think that, as i've said before, the real profit for me has been therapy and hopefully moving the debate on issues of race, mental illness, and journalism and some of its flaws and problems. >> we learned this week that blair is working as a certified life coach in ashborn, virginia. the former coke user and binge drinker is helping people with such problems at development disorders, mood disorders, and substance abuse. blair told the ap that he
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emphasizes with his clients. they know that i've been if their shoe, he says. i think it can feel a little more authentic. well, i find some people find this funny, a life coach, but good for him. it goes to say that jayson blair should never be allowed to work with as a journalist again, but he should be allowed to rebuild his life, especially as he helps others. and john king, you led with afghanistan this morning, your interview with mike mullen, afghanistan getting a little more media attention this week because of the elections, but if you look at the past year, it has largely dropped off the media radar screen to a disturbing degree. why do you think that is? >> because we've focused on the economy here at home. but as we focus needed attention on those issues, we should never forget big international stories, especially when the lives of so many young americans are at risk there. >> as you demonstrated when you talked to the families of those who are serving either in iraq or afghanistan.